Rugby League: Hunte's treble spares blushes for Warrington

Huddersfield Giants 12 Warrington Wolves 40
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The Independent Online
A SECOND-HALF hat-trick from Alan Hunte rescued Warrington from their worst performance of the season, keeping their play-off hopes alive and leaving Huddersfield in last place in Super League.

For 50 minutes, Warrington were outfought and frequently outplayed, but two tries in seven minutes from the former Great Britain threequarter changed the course of the game as they ran out winners by a deceptively clear-cut margin.

Huddersfield squandered some useful early possession and then cracked the first time that Warrington attacked them in earnest, Simon Gillies and Jon Roper opening up the right flank of their defence for Mark Forster to go over in the corner.

Against a side as lacking in confidence as Huddersfield, that should have been the prelude to 20 more first-half points, but Warrington were as guilty as their lowly hosts of making facile handling errors.

As the half went on, the home side had the edge in enthusiasm over opponents who looked as though they expected to win by right. Warrington paid the price on the half-hour when the second-rower Jimmy Carlton went over. Craig Weston kicked the goal to give Huddersfield the lead which they thoroughly deserved.

That still did not rouse Warrington from their lethargy. On the stroke of half time, three Warrington tacklers stood off Danny Arnold, who stretched out an arm to score. The face of the Warrington coach, Darryl Van de Velde, as he went to deliver his half time verdict told its own story.

There was no immediate improvement after the break; in fact, Warrington got worse before they got better, as Dean Lawford kicked Huddersfield further ahead with a penalty. But then Hunte showed his class as he accelerated through for a spectacular try.

His second owed more to Arnold's failure to tidy up his kick ahead, Hunte putting boot to ball again and reaching it just before the dead-ball line. Wilson then scored unopposed and Roper claimed another before Hunte completed his hat-trick.

As Huddersfield ran out of steam, Lee Penny went over twice to round off a misleadingly emphatic scoreline. Warrington will not need Van de Velde to tell them that they will have to play infinitely better from the start against St Helens on Sunday.

Huddersfield Giants: Arnold; Reilly, Gleeson, Loughlin, Booth; Lawford, Moxon; Fozzard, Hudson, Sturm, Boughton, Carlton, Weston. Substitutes used: Neill, Richards, Bunyan. Substitute not used: King.

Warrington Wolves: Penny; Hunte, Kohe-Love, Roper, Forster; Wilson, Briers; Hilton, Farrar, Nutley, Gillies, Knott, Wainwright. Substitutes used: McCurrie, Causey, Highton, Hanger.

Referee: N Oddy (Halifax).